Tuesday, November 03, 2009

New Poll Shows Americans Reject UN Report Accusing Israel of War Crimes

House to Vote on Resolution Condemning Goldstone Report; Organization of Islamic Conference Was “Initiator” of Report

A resolution (H. Res. 867) condemning a UN report as “irredeemably biased” against Israel is likely to pass the House of Representatives easily Tuesday (Nov. 3),[1] a day before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) convenes to debate the report’s findings. Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference said his group was the “initiator” of the report and helped push it through the UN Human Rights Council.[2] The so-called Goldstone report accuses Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes during the December-January conflict in Gaza. But a new bi-partisan poll shows that Americans believe Israeli military action in Gaza was indeed a defensive war and many reject the UN report accusing Israel of war crimes.

The poll, conducted in October by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQRR) and commissioned by The Israel Project (TIP) shows Americans have significant doubts about the findings of the report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council accusing Israel of war crimes. The UNGA meeting is being held at the urging of the United Nations’ Arab representatives.[3]

Most Americans (88 percent) are unaware of the report, led by Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa. But those familiar with it disagree with it by a 50 to 29 percent margin. A plurality (30 to 19 percent) of those unfamiliar with it reaches the same conclusion when told that the report accuses Israel and Hamas of war crimes, with the more serious accusations leveled against Israel.

Even Justice Goldstone himself, the author of the report, has cast doubts about the fairness[4] of the 575-page report[5] and said it wouldn’t stand up to legal scrutiny.[6]

“We couldn’t use that report as evidence at all,” Goldstone said. “But it was a useful roadmap for our investigators, for me as chief prosecutor, to decide where we should investigate. And that’s the purpose of this sort of report.”[7] He added, “We had to do the best we could with the material we had. If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.”[8]

The justice also criticized the draft resolution on the report as one-sided. “The draft resolution saddens me as it includes only allegations against Israel. There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report.”[9]

U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell echoed Goldstone’s comments, calling the report “one-sided and deeply flawed.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top officials also have expressed “grave concerns” about the fact-finding mission.[10]

Criticism of the Goldstone report is driven by sentiment that Israel’s Gaza operation was largely a defensive war. By a 50 to 27 percent margin, Americans believe Israel fought a defensive war and that Hamas has primary responsibility for civilian deaths rather than that Israel used excessive force and has primary responsibility for the civilian deaths.

Said TIP Founder and President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, “The saddest thing of all is not this report – it is that the UN Human Rights community did nothing serious to stop Hamas from shooting rockets at Israel’s South before Israel’s defensive war, and has not acted to stop Hezbollah from re-arming on Israel’s Northern Border. Just last week Israel was hit by a rocket from inside Lebanon – but the human rights organizations were silent.”

Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, Ph.D. of GQRR said, “Americans understand why Israel felt the need to go into Gaza and protect its own citizens, and they believe the Goldstone report gave insufficient weight to Hamas’ conscious attacks on civilians and use of civilians in Gaza.”

The survey was conducted jointly by Public Opinion Strategies (POS) and GQRR Oct. 12-14, 2009 with 807 registered voters (margin of error: +/-3.45 percent). Historical trend data is from surveys conducted by both POS and GQRR, and includes interviews of adults, registered voters, likely voters and opinion elites.

Footnotes:

[1] Kessler, Glenn, “Congress to weigh in on U.N.'s Gaza report,” The Washington Post, Oct. 31, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/30/AR2009103003610.html

[2] “'OIC initiated Goldstone inquiry,'” Al Jazeera English, Oct. 28, 2009, http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/10/20091021112649368100.html

[3] "UN assembly to debate Goldstone Report on Gaza war," Reuters via YnetNews, Oct. 27, 2009, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3796520,00.html

[4] Dershowitz, Alan, “Goldstone Criticizes UN Council on Human Rights,” The Huffington Post, 22/10/09 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/goldstone-criticizes-un-c_b_330059.html

[5] Mitnick, Joshua, “UN vote to endorse Goldstone report increases pressure on Israel,” The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 16, 2009, http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1016/p06s07-wome.html

[6] Dershowitz, Alan, “Goldstone Criticizes UN Council on Human Rights,” The Huffington Post, Oct. 22, 2009, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/goldstone-criticizes-un-c_b_330059.html

[7] Beckerman, Gal, “Goldstone: If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven,” The Jewish Daily Forward, Oct. 7, 2009, http://www.forward.com/articles/116269/

[8] Beckerman, Gal, “Goldstone: If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven,” The Jewish Daily Forward, Oct. 7, 2009 http://www.forward.com/articles/116269/

[9] Dershowitz, Alan, “Goldstone Criticizes UN Council on Human Rights,” The Huffington Post, Oct. 22, 2009, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/goldstone-criticizes-un-c_b_330059.html

[10] Fingerhut, Eric, “NJDC praises administration on Goldstone,” JTA, Oct. 29, 2009, http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2009/10/29/1008831/njdc-praises-administration-on-goldstone

www.theisraelproject.org

3 comments:

Philly B said...

Debate of the Year: Gold vs. Goldstone



War Crimes in Gaza or UN Crimes Against Israel?

Debate of the Year:Gold v. Goldstone
Amb. Dore Gold and Judge Richard Goldstone will discuss the UN Report on war crimes in Gaza

Brandeis University, Thurs., Nov. 5 at 5 p.m., EST

See live webcast at http://www.brandeis.edu/streamin/index.html

shochu said...

Given that HAMAS is wedded to the philosophy of destroying Israel and killing its Jewish citizens, one should hardly be shocked that Israel is not going to take a soft line with the Islamist 'resistance/terrorist' group.

Remember too, that HAMAS has had an out from day one. Israel and the Quartet have repeatedly stated that all HAMAS has to do to end the blockade is stop its violent actions, stop its incitement to violence, and accept the previous agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

HAMAS has repeatedly rejected this proposal, and continued to fire rockets at Israeli civilians

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